López-Murphy with Hoon
"Confidence building", in the South Atlantic was one of the main topics of the agenda, revealed Argentine Defence Minister Ricardo López-Murphy who this week met in London with his British counterpart Geoffrey Hoon. According to the Argentine press, Mr. López-Murphy said the meeting was a follow up of Mr. Hoon's recent visit to Buenos Aires "when we set the steps to follow, to ensure confidence building, and we now clearly established the new steps". However the Argentine official indicated that given "the nature of the issues", he couldn't be more precise, adding that he only replied to reporters when he wanted to reply. López-Murphy said that the recent incident with Argentine fishing vessels in Falklands waters was not considered specifically during talks with Defence Secretary Hoon, adding that he would give no details on the matter. The Argentine official together with the Joint Chief of Staff General Juan Carlos Mugnolo are visiting Argentine troops under United Nations command round the world. This week they also visited NATO headquarters and Farnborough Air Show.
Alert in Punta Arenas
Chilean authorities in Punta Arenas have sounded the "red tide" alert following an extraordinary increase in the Magellan waters toxin density which has a direct influence on local shell fish. Monitoring in the area by the Fisheries Promotion Department, FPD, revealed the abundance of "Alexandrium catenella", a micro organism directly related to the "red tide" that can cause death to human beings when consuming mussels or other related shell fish that are contaminated with the substance. "In the areas detected, the toxin level is 435 micrograms for every 100 grams of shell fish tissue, when the normal for human consumption is 80 micrograms", indicated Mr. Leonardo Guzmán head of FPD. Mr. Guzmán said that is spite of the fact much still has to be researched, "we know the phenomenon is cyclical and we are now prepared to warn fishermen and consumers with sufficient margin, avoiding deaths that were common until just a few years ago". Red tide contaminated shell fish have a paralysing venom with very painful effects for human beings.